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53) “And I praise the dead who are already dead more than the living who are living still.” All of the Creator’s actions are in judgment and truth. There is none who asks questions against Him, who protests against Him, and who tells Him, “What are you doing?” He does everything as He wishes.
54) “And I praise the dead.” Did King Solomon praise the dead more than the living? But only those who are on the path of truth in this world are called “living,” as it is written, “And Benaiahu Ben Yehoiada, a living man.” The wicked, who does not follow the path of truth, is called “dead.” And does King Solomon praise the dead more than the living?
55) Of course, all of King Solomon’s words were said in wisdom. “And I praise the dead.” If not more had been written, I would have said that he is praising the dead more than the living. But since it is written, “Who are already dead,” there is something else in wisdom here. “Who are already dead” means that they have already died on some other time, that they have parted from the world and were corrected in the dust, that they reincarnated and came to this world. Moreover, they have been punished once and twice, for they were in this world twice, and it is certain that his place was corrected with greater praise than those living who have not received the punishment of incarnation.
56) This is why it is written, “And I praise the dead who are already dead.” “Who are already dead” are those living who are called “dead.” They are called “dead” because they have tasted the taste of death. And although they are in this world, they are dead, and were brought back from the dead. Moreover, they are about to correct the actions of the first, which they did prior to their death, hence they are called dead, as they correct the deeds of those who died. “More than the living who are living,” since they have not yet tasted the taste of death, did not receive their punishment, and do not know if they are worthy in that world or not.
57) Righteous, who are rewarded with being attached to the bundle of life, Yesod de ZA, are rewarded with seeing the glory of the high and holy King, as it is written, “To behold the pleasantness of the Lord, and to visit in His palace.” Their abode is higher than all the holy angels and all their degrees, since neither the upper nor the lower are rewarded with seeing that high place, as it is written, “Neither has the eye seen a God besides You,” which is the upper Eden.
58) Those who are not rewarded with rising as much as they, have a place below according to their ways. Those are not rewarded with that place, and with seeing as those above see. Rather, they stand in the place of the lower Garden of Eden and not more. The lower Garden of Eden is Eden that is called “the lower Hochma,” Malchut, and stands over the garden in the earth. Eden’s watching is over it, over the garden, and those righteous stand in this Garden of Eden on the earth and enjoy that Eden, the lower Hochma.
59) The difference between the lower Eden and the upper Eden is as the advantage of the light over the darkness. The lower Eden is called Edna [pleasure/delight], a female. The upper Eden is called Eden, male. It is written about it, “Neither has the eye seen a God besides You.” The lower Eden is called “a garden” with respect to the Eden above. It is called Eden with respect to the garden below. Those who are in the garden below, in the Garden of Eden of the earth, enjoy that garden that is over them, the lower Hochma, each Sabbath and each month, as it is written, “And it shall come to pass from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another.”
60) Solomon said about them, “More than the living who are living still,” since those dead, “Who are already dead,” are at a higher degree than they are. Those who are already dead received their punishment twice. They are called “refined silver,” which entered the oven once, twice, and the filth has come out of it; it was sorted out and became clean. Better than both is Eden that was not, meaning that Ruach, which stands above and delays its descent. This one persists, for it has not sinned and need not suffer punishment, and has nourishment from the upper nourishment that is up above.
61) Best of all is one who comes to this world and does not part from the Creator, who is not revealed, and whose every word is in humbleness. This is a worthy pious, who observes the Mitzvot of Torah and keeps them, and engages in Torah day and night. He unites and enjoys a higher degree than all the people, and all burn from looking in the Huppah [canopy] of this one.
62) When the Creator said to Moses, “Aaron shall be gathered unto his people,” his power weakened. He knew that his right arm, Hesed, had been broken, and his whole body shook. When he said, “Take Aaron and Elazar, his son,” the Creator told him, “Moses, but I have lent you another arm, and strip Aaron of his garments.” “And Aaron shall be gathered,” but Elazar will be a right arm for you instead of his father. For this reason, he did not substitute for his father at that time like his father, since the clouds of glory have departed and returned only by merit of Moses, and not by Elazar’s merit.
63) “And Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the congregation assembled.” Why before the eyes of the whole congregation? It is because Aaron was loved by the people more than everyone, so they would not say that he died by Moses. Moses lured Aaron with words until they rose up to the mountain and all of Israel were seeing when Moses stripped the garments of Aaron and clothed them over Elazar.
64) What is the reason that Moses took off the clothes of Aaron? Moses clothed Aaron with them when he rose into priesthood, as it is written, “And he put upon him the coat.” Hence, now Moses removed from him what he had given him, and the Creator removed from him what He had given him, his soul, and both stripped Aaron of everything. Moses removed what was on the outside, and the Creator removed what was on the inside. And as long as Moses did not remove, the Creator did not remove. Happy is Moses.
65) Happy are the righteous whose glory the Creator desires, for He has established for Aaron a bed and an illuminating gold lamp, and took it of His own, of that lamp that He would light twice each day. After that, he sealed the cave door and they went down.
66) The cave door was open, all of Israel saw Aaron dead, the candle of the lamp burning before him, and his bed going in and out so that Israel would see that he was dead, and a cloud was standing over the bed. Then Israel knew that Aaron was dead. They saw that the clouds of glory had parted from Israel, as it is written, “And the whole congregation saw that Aaron was dead.” For this reason, the whole of the house of Israel cried over Aaron, men, women, and children, for he was loved by all.
67) These are three upper holy brothers. Why were they not buried in the same place, and the organs were scattered, one here, another there, and another elsewhere? Some say that each of them died in a place where Israel were to be in danger to protect Israel, and they were saved. Everyone died as was befitting for him. Miriam died in holiness. She was between the north and the south, since Miriam was a Merkava for Malchut, who is between right and left of ZA, which are called “south north.” Aaron, who had a Merkava for Hesed, who died in Mount Hor, was on the right. Moses, who died on the Mount of Avarim, was in the middle, as was appropriate for him, since Moses was a Merkava for the middle line, Tifferet.
That mountain of Moses gripped the mountain of Aaron and gathered the grave of Miriam into that mountain of Moses, which was gripped from two sides, from the right and from the left, since the middle line includes right and left. This is why it is called “Mount of Avarim,” after the Maavar [passage] between the two sides of the mountain—the passages—and the passage grips to this side and to that side, to the right and to the left.
68) Happy are the righteous in this world and in the next world. And although they are in another place, in another, upper world, their merit remains in this world for all generations. When Israel repent before the Creator and are sentenced to a decree, the Creator summons the righteous who stand before Him up above and informs them, and they revoke that decree, and the Creator takes pity over Israel. Happy are the righteous, of whom it is said, “And the Lord shall guide you always.”
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